Need an antidote for stress? Try mindful awareness

MINDFUL AWARENESS OR MINDFULNESS

mindful awareness is an antidote to stress

 

Mindful awareness as an antidote to stress and anxiety is the subject of research. At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) The Mindful Awareness Research Centre is a partner of the Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology with the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

In our modern society there have been great advances in science and technology while at the same time  people are suffering a lot of stress that is contributing to a variety of mental health issues.

During the last decade, research has demonstrated that mindful awareness can be used to address a number of health issues. These include:

  • help with anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive-disorder
  • less emotional reactivity
  • facilitates mental wellbeing
  • boosting the immune system
  • increasing attention and focus
  • lowering blood pressure
  • increasing the healing response
  • thickening areas of the brain (e.g the pre-frontal cortex) involved in decision making, emotional flexibility  empathy, self-awareness and compassion

 

mindful awareness

 

Mindful awareness involves paying attention to present moment experiences. It invites you to

  • STOP the flow of mental activity
  • BREATHE (eyes open or closed)
  • OBSERVE INTERNALLY e.g body sensations, emotions, thoughts, mood; or OBSERVE EXTERNALLY
  • CONNECT WITH ONE’S INNER EXPERIENCE
  • DEAL WITH YOUR DISTRACTING, WANDERING MIND  Mindfulness practice helps you to deal with your constant inner dialogue which can be very intrusive e.g negative “brain chatter”. You can learn how not to be swept away by it. Note: the aim is not to stop thinking but to let go of thoughts. You can imagine your thoughts as small clouds floating by.
  • TO BE PRESENT WITH ALL THAT LIFE BRINGS WHETHER JOYFUL OR PAINFUL

Mindfulness is a form of self-awareness training; it has been adapted from Buddhist mindfulness meditation. It has been described as a state of being in the present accepting things for what they are i.e without judgement.

Mindfulness

  • keeps your mind from being lost in the past or future e.g catastrophizing
  • helps counteract automaticity; we are often on “auto pilot”. You can be helped to be more connected.
  • can be practised as a type of  meditation or as a quality of attention you bring into daily life e.g when you are walking
  • can reduce stress
  • involves being rather than doing
  • awakens your senses

 

Example: Mindful Walking

While you are walking concentrate on the feel of the ground under your feet and your breathing when walking. Observe what is going on around you and stay in the present. Let other thoughts go. Look at the sky and the view. Feel the wind on your face. Enjoy the moment.

See the following YouTube with Diana Winston (UCLA) for an introduction to the basics of mindful awareness, both theory and practice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKRAWbq48OY

The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has free guided mindfulness meditations presented as podcasts. You can practice these on your own.

For further information see:

http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22

For “Free Meditation Podcasts at the Hammer Museum” see the weekly podcasts at:

http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=107

See the following YouTube for guidance through a “Breathing Meditation” with Diana Winston, UCLA Mindfulness Research Centre. This is a mindfulness exercise that focusses on your breathing, your body and relaxation. It takes just a few minutes and is something you could practise regularly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFSc7Ck0Ao0

 

mindful awareness needs practise

Mindfulness in the midst of life. Mindful awareness can be practised as a quality of attention you bring into daily life e.g when you are walking

mindful awareness

 

CHILDREN ARE OFTEN MINDFULLY AWARE

 

mindful awareness and mindfulness

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MINDFULNESS AND HOW TO INCORPORATE IT INTO YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIVING CALL ME TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT AT EITHER CASTLE HILL OR WAHROONGA:
Mob  0478 783 506
Tel  9943 2400

 

Mindfulness: How to slow down “brain chatter”

Mindfulness: Being in the present, moment by moment

Mindfulness is a way of being rather than a way of doing.

mindfulnessMindfulness is a form of self-awareness training that has been adapted from Buddhist meditation. It involves staying aware of what is happening right now rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. It is sometimes referred to as “being in the present moment“.

When practising mindfulness techniques you intentionally focus on what is happening to you and around you right now, this minute. You pay attention to what you are thinking and feeling. You are aware of your environment: the sights, smells, sounds and tastes. There is no need to judge, question or analyze what is happening; you accept things for what they are.

Thus mindfulness involves paying full attention to what is going on in you and outside you, moment by moment.

Listen to these simple meditation tracks at the following address to experience some aspects of mindfulness and to reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety:

http://www.biteback.org.au/things-to-do/power-up/

With practice you can learn to slow down “brain chatter” and automatic or habitual reactions. When practising you will experience uninvited thoughts. If you start to dwell on such thoughts or get irritated for not being able to stay focussed then you are moving away from the present moment. Instead, the idea is to just acknowledge the thought and let it go without judgement and hence keep your focus on the present moment.

Read more and watch youtube videos at:

http://www.mindfulnet.org/page2.htm#Intro

One simple technique described at the above site is mindfulness of breath. The breath can be used as an anchor to focus your attention. Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing, feeling the sensations in your nostrils. Inevitably your attention will wander and then you will notice that it has wandered and note your reaction. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgement. The idea is to return your attention back to the sensation of breathing. This cycle is repeated over and over again.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MINDFULNESS AND HOW TO INCORPORATE IT INTO YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIVING CALL ME TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT AT WAHROONGA OR CASTLE HILL
Mob.   0478 783 506
Tel.   9943 2400